Google + StopBadware.org = Internet Gestapo?

UPDATE:  Google has lifted the malware advisory!

We have run the Mister Poll web site for the last 8 years, and it’s been mostly a joy. We have a large and loyal user community, and we enjoy providing a valuable service. I was shocked to discover yesterday morning that all we have worked for is now suddenly in jeapordy.

Our web site traffic is very regular and predictable. Yesterday I noticed that it had plummeted to about half its normal volume. Something serious was amiss, but I had no clue what it was. After some digging around, I discovered that every Google search result pointing to our web site now bears this Google-sponsored advisory:

Warning – visiting this web site may harm your computer!

See for yourself right here or in this screen shot.

Excuse me?! What is this about? We received no notice. No complaints. No opportunity to disprove or correct any issues. Just WHAM … cut our legs out from under us. Digging further, this seems to be related to an organization called StopBadware.org. Their self-appointed mission is to rid the world of “badware” – evil software that may install itself on your computer and damage things. A decent goal, but their methods are downright thuggish.

From what I can glean, it works this way. If they receive an anonymous complaint about a web site, they will put you on a “bad” list which is then supplied to Google, who is also one of their financial investors. Google immediately blocks all search results to that web site with that horrific, and in my view libelous, warning. All of this is done with no investigation into the validity of the complaint. So overnight, at the whim of anybody who wants to file a complaint, an entire business can be shut down. Unbelievable. For a company whose motto is “Don’t be evil“, this feels downright sinister.

We are very responsible with our web site. The only ads we run are from Google AdSense. We hand-review every user-created poll before it’s published in the Mister Poll directory. Our web site screens out harmful HTML and scripting before displaying any user-created content. Could there be a hole that we haven’t found which some unscrupulous user is exploiting? Sure. I can’t find one, but every piece of software has bugs. If somebody had notified me of a problem, I would have fixed it immediately. It could also be somebody who was pissed off that their poll wasn’t approved and decided to file a false report. The problem is that nobody bothered to check, and we weren’t given a chance to fix any real problem that might exist. We were convicted and sentenced without even being notified first. Guilty until proven innocent. Shoot first and ask questions later. Apparently this is the Google way.

The only recourse we seem to have is to file an appeal with StopBadware.org. Their appeals process takes at least 10 business days. In the meantime, Google continues to badmouth our web site to the entire world, labeling it as dangerous and poisonous. Tell me that won’t leave a lasting negative impact, even if we are able to work this out in the end.

I’d love to stage a “call to arms”, but I honestly don’t know how to bring about change here. Google rules the world. If you are a Mister Poll user and would like to help the site, I would suggest emailing Google at security@google.com to complain. They seem to think this is a security-related issue, and they aren’t very free with their contact info, so this is the best email address I could find.

For others that find this overall situation disturbing, I hope that raising awareness will help. It could be your business or favorite web site that is hit next. Please pass a link to this blog entry along to anybody else you think might care. Also, I plan on filing a StopBadware.org complaint against StopBadware.org itself, and possibly against Google.com, for hijacking and blocking my personal search results without my permission. If you feel like helping, perhaps you could do the same. Let’s see if their systems are automated enough to actually block themselves.

I’m open to other suggestions as well. Please leave a comment if you have other ideas on how to fight back. A vote at digg wouldn’t hurt either. We would greatly appreciate your support.

61 Responses to “Google + StopBadware.org = Internet Gestapo?”


  1. 1 K January 6, 2007 at 3:50 am

    I am not into software or computers but what google is doing is downright wrong.

    With google taking over the Internet, almost, it is donning the cap of justice, that too without giving a chance to those who are being targeted and that is a dangerous trend.

    With how they are moving on with these issues, it won’t be long before google is not seen as a wonderful king of the www but an evil dictator.

    I hope it is resolved quickly.

    All the best.

  2. 2 Derek January 6, 2007 at 4:35 am

    You might be interested in this…

  3. 3 Max1089 January 6, 2007 at 4:40 am

    to the maker/owner of mister poll
    did google or this stopbadware.org send you an e-mail.
    check your inbox!

    if they did not inform you than it is wrong to close down a site with no aprent reason. they should tell you why your are being closed down.

    i have an idea. you(the maker) said: If they receive an anonymous complaint about a web site, they will put you on a “bad” list which is then supplied to Google, why dont you send an anonymous complaint about stopbadware.org

  4. 4 misterpoll January 6, 2007 at 5:01 am

    K: Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I agree it’s a dangerous trend, and I can’t help but think that other sites have already been bitten by this. Hopefully creating a little buzz here will get people talking.

    Derek: Thanks for that link. I hadn’t seen that message before, but it’s over 2 years old at this point. We were with a different ad network back then (MaxOnline), and I’m guessing that was a problem that surfaced through them. That should be ancient history by now. Our ads are currently served by none other than Google.

    Max: No, neither Google nor StopBadware.org contacted us. Not before the search results were altered and not after. I actually did file a StopBadware.org complaint against both StopBadware.org and google.com. Sadly, they seem to be immune to their own abusive devices.

  5. 5 kitchen January 6, 2007 at 8:11 am

    Perhaps it was a competitor that listed you? It’d be useful to see if some of your competition now feels the google/badsoftware axe.

    If competition did list you, I hope they were smart enough to do it from a corporate IP. Probably not tho.

  6. 6 John Kaye January 6, 2007 at 8:23 am

    Yahoo is not giving you a bad rating nor is MSN so you can still be found that way. Once people find Google is doing this I feel it will hurt their buiness. I will no longer use Google as a search engine.

    I have received issues with items from major software companies. I double that Google would take on one of those in court.

  7. 7 Pauly January 6, 2007 at 9:42 am

    Is Mister Poll GOing to be history? I do not want to see this site disappear.

  8. 8 William Robinson January 6, 2007 at 10:59 am

    I enjoy looking at Misterpoll a couple of times a week. I have created upwards of 30 polls, and you have very kindly published them on the site – all of them! This has helped me research certain subjects and provided some interesting results.
    I very much hope Misterpoll will continue, and I will e-mail Google to protest about this situation. Good luck.
    Bill Robinson

  9. 9 Bill Davis January 6, 2007 at 11:48 am

    Sorry to hear about what happened to you, BUT:

    – the internet is a big place, and occasional mistakes will happen
    – your site does not appear to be blocked now — update your page
    – directing your users to email another company’s security team (especially about an issue that no longer exists!), rather than the sensible address would meet some definitions of “badware”

    I think people would be more sympathetic towards your cause if you updated your page to say your site is no longer blocked and/or pointed people at the correct email address for complaints.

  10. 10 kitchen January 6, 2007 at 12:25 pm

    I can confirm the clean hit now, fwiw.

  11. 11 misterpoll January 6, 2007 at 12:35 pm

    Thanks everybody for the kind messages and support.

    Bill Davis: You’re right, the block seems to have been lifted! I will be posting a new blog entry right after this comment. I agree with you that Google’s security email address was likely not the most appropriate place to direct complaints. I didn’t choose that one merely to be troublesome. It was truly the only semi-appropriate one I could find. I searched the Google site for close to an hour and could find no more appropriate forum. I think Google doesn’t want to hear complaints, so they bury or don’t even publish appropriate contact info. Anyway, thanks all. More to come in new blog posting.

  12. 12 Bill Davis January 6, 2007 at 12:59 pm

    Very sorry to hear you spent an hour trying to find a contact address. For future reference, you could have gone to http://stopbadware.org/ and clicked the “Contact Us” link at the bottom of the page. It tells you an appeal can be sent to appeals@stopbadware.org. Took me about 2 minutes to find.

  13. 13 misterpoll January 6, 2007 at 1:03 pm

    Bill, I did indeed use that appeals address for StopBadware.org as soon as I discovered the advisory was in place. What I had trouble finding was an appropriate Google contact. Thanks for looking around though.

  14. 14 Matt Cutts January 6, 2007 at 1:25 pm

    It looks as though some urls on the site had some dangerous content. Things like http://www.mister poll.com/193242 6368.html (splitting the url so people don’t go there by accident)..

  15. 15 misterpoll January 6, 2007 at 1:31 pm

    Hi Matt. Thanks for the URL. Yes indeed, I realize that people do try to inject evil stuff into polls and messages. There is always some spammer / hacker looking for a way to exploit a site. However, as you’ll see on that page, our system neutralized it before the poll is displayed. The link is not dangerous. It is simply showing some of the remaining text after the HTML tags have been deactivated. I appreciate you pointing it out though, so I can ban that user account. Now if Google and/or StopBadware.org had done the same and notified me of any problems they found, this whole mess could have been avoided.

  16. 16 kitchen January 6, 2007 at 2:07 pm

    Matt —

    How did you run across said bad poll (now removed)? That might give some ideas on how to scan/improve the misterpoll.com experience so that there’s fewer chances for google/stopbadware ambushes again.

  17. 17 Monkeyboi January 6, 2007 at 4:55 pm

    I’m confused. It seems you didn’t know you had a dodgy link but that is probably why google did what they did.

    Its now *gone* and you’ve been removed from this problem in google.

    Whats the problem!? :)

    Monkeyboi

  18. 18 misterpoll January 6, 2007 at 5:13 pm

    Monkeyboi: It depends on your definition of “dodgy”. Yes, I do know that people attempt to create polls with bad stuff in them. That’s why our system looks for potentially damaging stuff and does its best to neutralize it before anything is displayed to the user. The poll that was mentioned in earlier comments was just such a case: a person’s failed attempt at injecting something dangerous.

    And yes, thank goodness, the Google advisory has now been lifted from search results pointing to Mister Poll. This happened *after* my original blog posting. To my knowledge, there is no longer a continuing Google issue with the Mister Poll web site. This particular incident has been resolved. However, I still maintain that it’s a problem when somebody as powerful as Google takes action like this against a site without ever notifying the owner that they think a problem exists, and giving them information that may help it get fixed or debunked.

  19. 19 brandicat January 7, 2007 at 11:54 pm

    google is ok –
    though not everyting they do, is ok!
    anyway, this proves misterpoll is ok too!!
    therefore, let’s make lots of polls and attract lots of friends to participate!
    vive monsieur paul! oh, sorry…
    LONG LIVE MISTERPOLL
    (and may his fans become just a bit more active and numerous – that’s also our job isn’t it?)
    cheers,
    brandi

  20. 20 misterpoll January 8, 2007 at 10:15 am

    Thanks, brandicat! I don’t know if it’s your job, but I certainly do appreciate it when fans of the site bring in more fans. :-) I’m glad you enjoy Mister Poll.

  21. 21 Jean Camp January 8, 2007 at 11:31 am

    The only time I have encountered this there were three links.

    There is a small text link saying “if you believe this page has been falsely flagged … report it to Google”.

    There are two large links:
    “Get me out of here” which returns you to your previous site
    and
    “Ignore this warning” which takes you to the site in question.

    I have not previously seen the warning as produced by MisterPoll. I was surprised to see the two major text links were not there. It seems as if the two text links should remain.

  22. 22 misterpoll January 8, 2007 at 11:46 am

    Hi Jean,

    Thanks for the comment. I’d never seen any version of this malware warning before seeing the one we were slapped with. What you describe would definitely have been a step up from what we saw. At least that way, there would be a clearly communicated starting point for getting the warning removed.

    However, if Google is going to step into the role of policing web site security, they still need to make it a priority to report their findings to the web site owners. In many (perhaps most) cases, it is probably a case of an unknown web site exploit being abused. Finding a real security bug and not reporting it to the publisher is pretty irresponsible. Imagine if people pulled Microsoft Windows (or another OS) off their shelves any time a security hole was found, but nobody ever told Microsoft what the hole was. It would be disaster.

    If Google’s interest is truly user security, it should be a priority to assist in actually getting problems fixed. People do find web sites using tools other than Google, and their warnings won’t help those people. In fact, it might even give evil-doers directions toward a vulerable site that they could further exploit.

  23. 23 Kristie January 10, 2007 at 3:17 pm

    I run a dog blog. It has no badware, no malicious code, no security holes. Trust me I looked long and hard after being blocked my stopbadware.org. PErhaps someone here could find something I missed, but except for adwords itself, which often has questionable content in my mind, there is nothing!

    I too could not find a contact address for google. They are quite swarmy aren’t they?

    I’ve filed an appealed, I wrote security@google.com, and I plan to file a complaint with the FTC and BBB. Marking my slight as distributing malware is nothing short of slander and libel!

  24. 24 Eric January 10, 2007 at 4:58 pm

    A quick search for misterpoll+trojan returned a couple of different complaints (2 from 2004 & 1 from 2006) from people saying they received a warning from their antivirus software saying that the misterpoll website contained a javascript exploit/trojan. In addition, a stumbleupon review said the same thing (“watch out, this site tried to give me a virus!”) — again, from 2004. That could be the original source of the issue.

  25. 25 misterpoll January 10, 2007 at 5:06 pm

    Kristie: So sorry to hear you’ve been a victim of this as well. I’m replying to you via email.

    Eric: Thanks for the info. I’m having trouble locating the same results via Google, but I don’t doubt what you’ve found. I do believe a couple of years ago, the ad network we were with did indeed have trouble weeding out dangerous ads. That’s one of the reasons we left them. It would sure be nice to know what triggered the Google warning rather than continue to guess though.

  26. 26 ferlo January 18, 2007 at 4:13 am

    my site has been blocked by google using the stopbadware mafia at the end of july.
    I must say I HAD badware on my site that was promptly removed.
    then I sent them several messages to appeals.
    at every response there was another problem. firs I had the badware, after removing the badware there was a link to a site pointing to badware. I checked all my linkexchange, removing few sites, then notify them. but their response was always the same: “We will review your site once you remove any traces of badware and
    discontinue linking to any sites that install badware. Once you have
    notified us of your compliance, we will test your site again within 10
    business days. If badware is still found, you may appeal the decision
    again and your will site will be queued again for testing. Please note
    that secondary or higher appeals may take significantly longer than the
    original 10 business days.”
    but they NEVER told me what was wrong.
    note: my site has been marked as distributing badware but this is false.

  27. 27 misterpoll January 18, 2007 at 9:57 am

    Wow. My head is spinning with that one. I can’t even express how amazingly unreasonable it is to expect sites to police every single link that’s placed within their content. Not only would you have to review each link when it’s first posted, but you would have to continually re-visit them forever, to make sure every site linked to is still clean. Impossible.

    So some spammer posts a link to a questionable site in your message forums, and wham, you’re out of Google. Even worse, somebody posts a link to a legitimate site, and that site is later hacked in some way. Not only do they get blacklisted, so do you and everybody else on the web who links to them.

    That’s unreal. That’s the death of the hyperlink and essentially the death of the web. What kind of a web are we left with if the strands don’t interconnect? It’s no longer a web, but a massive stretch of lonlely islands. Somebody stop these StopBadware.org folks. Please.

  28. 28 A. P. March 9, 2007 at 11:16 am

    There has to be a better way. It has only been 2 days since I was flagged but I am getting on this right away because I am losing serious traffic.

    Now I know why it takes 10 days for a badware.org review my site. After gathering some information in online blogs I found this: Quote from Erica George: “In terms of our staffing structure, the stop Badware project currently has six paid fulltime staff members including herself.

    Only six people to police the whole internet including the massagve Google search engine database! I don’t know about you but I see that as impossible. Even if they had 100 other volunteer students helping them.

    A hacker recently broke into the server that my site is hosted on and from my experience these hackers will never stop regardless of what six people or a hundred can do. For every one that is stopped ten more crop up in thier place. My site has been hacked on more than one occassion only this time I guess the internet powers that be (Google) thinks we should be punished when our site is hacked.

    Nevermind the responsibility of individual computer users to police thier own computer with anti-spyware and anti-virus software updated reguarly. (This was actually part of my problem as you will read later)

    However with that said, should the good people that are being hacked and exploited from some malicous code illegally insersted into thier website by some scumbag hacker be punished by taking thier livelyhood (google listings) away?

    Here is my story:

    A hacker either broke in to the server that my website is hosted on or into my site directly by cracking my password and loaded an encrypted java script that is evidently a trojan.downloader on the first line of my html code in my home page. Did I know? No! If I did I would have removed it immediatly, however since my computer is updated often with the latest anti-virus and anti-spyware protection and I have it set to automaticially kill the threat without warning me, I continued to work on my site for a couple weeks and was never the wiser until I get 10 emails from google telling me that they have turned it over to stopbadware.org and it will take 10 days to review my site.

    Meanwhile I removed the malicous code within 2 minutes of the email from Google and the problem was solved. Now however I have to wait on badware.org to review my site when Google could just as easily reviewed the site by giving me 24 hours to correct the problem before putting a slanderous label on my search results that says “visiting this website may harm your computer”. They might have just as well put “this site will give you the black plague”.

    I think they should at least have a 24 hour grace period for us good people who are hacked by the scum that they are trying to fight. Seems kinda counter productive to label a site the purveyor of badware when they are not.

    Maybe they should consider putting a less slanderous label on the search results like “this site may have been hacked or is purposly distributing badware, the site owner has been notified and should be correcting the problem” that would be nicer. The way you are wording it now I highly doubt that anyone will re-visit my site that looked at it during the 10 day review period (or however long this may take).

    And why does it take 10 days to look and see that there are no virus or spyware warnings using the latest virus software or spyware checkers or even http://www.siteadvisor.com from McAfee. If McAfee can automate the scan of a site and clear it then badware.org should be able to do the same. This should be automated.

    Ten days is a lot of time when you rely on your little website to help pay your montly rent. I also wonder if americanidol.com or some other large site would get the same treatment from Google or badware.org or would they get 24 hours or a warning or a phone call first before thier whole internet empire was brought to a complete stop.

    I would bet all the money I have that they would get that special treatment for fear that thier lawyers would be knocking at the badware.org door if they did to them what you do to us little guys.

    They may be the Google giant but they need to remember who made them. Searchers like us and advertisers like us who put our hard earned money into them (thousands of dollars). Remember Google “Do no Evil”. I think you missed the whole point on this “anti-badware arrangement” and you need to strongly reconsider how you handle these situations to maintain goodwill toward those who made you who you are. This is just wrong. Who agrees?

  29. 29 DaMav March 16, 2007 at 4:12 pm

    I’ll approach this from a different point of view. I am a google user, I don’t have a website to block. However tonight while searching for political content, I hit two sites that gave that popup. This was followed by all kinds of self congratulatory horsechit about how wonderful stopbadware.org was.

    Maybe google learned something about censorship in China? It doesn’t matter which part of the political spectrum you are from, this stopbadware.org is obviously subject to abuse.

    And, it is really spamware itself. I didn’t request it, didn’t knowingly download it, wasn’t warned about installing it, and cant’ disable it. It creates an extremely annoying popup which lowers the efficiency with which I can do searches on my computer.

    I can only imagine how frustrating it has to be to have a web site blocked. What can we do to stop this “mommy” program in its tracks? I’m getting ready to drop Google as a search engine and switch to something else.

  30. 30 NKelly April 5, 2007 at 10:58 am

    Well, the same thing has happened to my site, http://www.visioninvestigations.com. There is no adware, software, badware that I can find on the site. We don’t link to other sites. We don’t collect customer information. We don’t send spam or advertising. Google never informed me of a problem or gave an opportunity to correct it (though I can’t find anything to correct). Now, I have been forced to join google groups, submit an appeal to stopbadware (who knows what they are); and I’m wondering if part of this is an advertising ploy on their part. This nonsense has to stop. I filed the appeal with stopbadware – haven’t heard a word.

  31. 31 Vic April 19, 2007 at 12:50 pm

    During a routine checkup of our web site http://www.beckerelectronics.com we noticed that our web site was flagged by Google, we have checked our web pages and found no badware, we have sent numerous emails to stopbadware.org also Google and got no respond, since there was no warning to webmaster or web site owners stopbadware.org and any third party connected to them should be responsible for a lost revenue, we are at this point seriously thinking to lunch a web site against stopbadware.org and Google, we welcome any idea from the readers. Thank You. Vic

    PS. you can email us directly to: beckerelectronics@excite.com

  32. 32 Vic April 20, 2007 at 8:07 pm

    well we got to emails from stopbadware.org we no results, here is the copy of the email.
    First email from appeals@stopbadware.org

    To: —————-
    Subject: Re: Please Review our web site “www.beckerelectronics.com”
    Date: Thu, 19 Apr 2007 16:09:28 -0400 (EDT)
    From: appeals@stopbadware.org Add to Address Book Add Mobile Alert

    StopBadware.org no longer accepts appeals submitted via email. If you
    would like us to review the inclusion of your site in the Badware
    Website Clearinghouse, please go to http://stopbadware.org/home/review to
    fill out a Request for Review form.

    The StopBadware Team

    —————————————————————-
    second Email was sent to: contact@stopbadware.org, on this email we requested they review our web site and got this email

    To:…………..
    Subject: Re: Badware???? http://www.beckerelectronics.com
    Date: Wed, 18 Apr 2007 13:53:18 -0400 (EDT)
    From: contact@stopbadware.org Add to Address BookAdd to Address Book Add Mobile Alert

    Thank you for contacting Stopbadware.org. Your input helps us build a
    community and resources to help us stop this growing threat. Your
    comments and suggestions are welcome.

    Unfortunately, we receive so much feedback that we may not have time to
    respond to every suggestion and question, though we do read all of it.

    If you want to participate and become part of this community, learn how
    to get involved by going here:

    http://www.stopbadware.org/home/get_involved

    If you are looking for technical support with a badware issue,
    stopbadware.org does not offer direct support. Please visit our ‘How do I get
    rid of badware’ section for some helpful links:

    http://www.stopbadware.org/home/help%2Fhelp_remove

    Stopbadware.org does not currently endorse any sites or products, but
    we do want to point you in the right direction so that you can find the
    resources you need to make informed decisions about removing these
    programs.

    Thank You,
    The Stopbadware.org Team
    ——————————————————————

    Vic

  33. 33 David June 28, 2007 at 10:44 pm

    This is my first time of having just found the misterpoll web site. I found the misterpoll web site when I did an advanced Google.com web search in an attempt to try to learn if there was anything whether good or bad about the StopBadware.org web site or about Google posting warnings and blocking some web sites. In reading through most of the postings in here I have not seen anyone mention the BadBusinessBureau.com Web Site as a possible resource for checking to see if anyone has posted any warnings about bad web sites or bad businesses. Although there is not always anything posted about a particular web site or business at least this is yet another good place to keep in mind when trying to do research to find out about any possible warnings about bad web sites or bad businesses. Also, the BadBusinessBureau.com web site does allow web sites and businesses to post their own replies to bad postings about them. Sometimes problems are able to be resolved, while sometimes not. I use the BadBusinessBureau.com web site to help me decide whether or not I want to do business with a particular business or web site.

  34. 34 veedgo July 3, 2007 at 8:56 am

    I am curious if this was a gradual rollout. I live in Oregon, and this is the first time I’ve ran into it and it is July 2007. I see that lots of others started reporting this as early as Jan 2007 and a possibility that it was being tested back in Aug 2006.
    I went to go to a website that I hadn’t been to for a while and got the Google Gestapo message and was surprised (classicgod.com). What was odd, was that it displayed a popup asking for some M$ MDA Remote Data Services… I would never allow that and had never had that happen before. I’ve also had this popup try on another software download website, one that I visit regularly, and I suddenly had several Java Script/Psyme trojans try to hit my computer. I am curious if hackers are loading malicious code to various websites and these sites don’t know it. What’s funny is, I didn’t get the Gestapo message on that one and that is where I got infected!
    If we, who use the Internet regularly, are facing both a Gestapo and a hack at the same time, I would say we have a rather huge problem.
    I think it is ‘evil’ that someone declare themselves judges, jury and prosecutor over our commerce and communication like this. And at the same time, we are hit by maladies from the other side. Will this shut down the Internet as we know it? I’d like to be a little more optomistic than this, but it is difficult.

  35. 35 Luxspes August 1, 2007 at 4:37 pm

    I wonder… what happens if everybody starts reporting wwww.google.com as in StopBadware.org… will that make Google block itself?

  36. 36 Izrul September 27, 2007 at 2:54 pm

    Great feedback from people. You really open up my eyes.

  37. 37 ScottM January 2, 2008 at 4:24 pm

    They’re still doing it.

    http://www.google.com/search?q=american+spectator

    This is a right-wing magazine’s website which was obviously reported as an act of sheer political vandalism. It’s just the sort of site that obnoxious lefties would like to shut down. I’m certain that they’re not pushing malware.

    (I’m not trying to be political; I’m sure obnoxious right-wingers would like do the same thing to Kos, but I doubt Google would add Kos to their list.)

    I think the reason Google warns us not to be evil is because they want all the evil for themselves. I’m hoping the Spectator has the money and the gumption to sue both companies.

  38. 38 ScottM January 2, 2008 at 4:51 pm

    Actually, I misread the StopBadware page; it’s actually Google that reported that site as a bad site. They’d better have a pretty good explanation or I have a feeling the Spectator will be receiving a large infow of cash in the near future.

  39. 39 FMulder January 9, 2008 at 10:32 am

    Google´s increasing power is a clear threat to Internet freedom and something else. Maybe I am wrong about this statement ( I hope so ), but what´s the reason for blacklisting other interesting sites?? Are they trying to cheat and dominate people and Internet content like they were the owners of the truth? I´ve already used Google´s pack…It became installed in my computer like that sticky black thing from Spyderman 3… It was really hard to get rid of it! People should try to think about this facts and realize the implications of Google´s power over internet and beyond. The truth is out there.

  40. 40 Luke January 22, 2008 at 1:57 pm

    My website was also a victim of this BS. Although they were right and my site had been hacked, all they had to do was send me an email and I’d have fixed it. Ass-hats.

  41. 41 anthony February 18, 2008 at 7:29 am

    hi, i am going nuts here. I think it has something to do with the K2 theme actually. I 1st saw the error on my site, umannart.com , worpress / k2 based site – nothing odd there at all and I am sure the code is safe. A friend of mine whose site I setup is having the same problem, avantikumar.com , another k2 site.

    then i search for stopbadware and i come up with this page, another k2 site.. coincidence?

    is there something in the k2 theme that is getting sites flagged by stopbadware?

  42. 42 FruityOaty March 13, 2008 at 11:24 pm

    OMG, I’m not sure… but I think the commenter above “Anthony” is correct… I think there’s something in the K2 theme that gets flagged as badware. I recently updated both my sites to K2 theme 2 weeks ago, and yesterday… they both got flagged by Google as badware.

    It’s a bloody nightmare… I don’t know what to do now.

    Someone told me that everytime they load my homepage in IE, they get message that ActiveX control is trying to load: Shell WebView & Control Library… which never used to appear until I updated to K2 theme. But I’m unable to reproduce this… I don’t see it.

  43. 43 FruityOaty March 13, 2008 at 11:27 pm

    And as the Anthony said… you’re also using the K2 theme. Suspicious. Gotta go check all my plugins now, but I don’t use that many.

    Google sucks. Thanks for the info. I will file appeal.

  44. 44 FruityOaty March 14, 2008 at 12:01 am

    OK, I was too quick to blame it on K2. Not the culprit in my case. I found some suspiscious code… long string of garbage letters script. Upon reading the help docs on StopBadware.org and following links here and there for info… I found out that “garbage letters” in script tends to mean obfuscated code… which probably means my site got hacked. Anyway, to make long story short, an iframe looks like got inserted into my WordPress install. I was still at 2.3.2 and apparently this vulnerability was fixed in 2.3.3. Anyway, I did a brand new install of WP… rechecked source code in browser… and that strange script (I suspect it was trying to redirect to another site) disappeared. Dumb me… uggh, should’ve updated to latest WP.

    Now, I just have to wait for Google Gestapo to make a verdict. Sigh.

  45. 45 misterpoll March 14, 2008 at 9:10 am

    FruityOaty: Hey, I’m glad you got to the root of your problem. At least it seems like you did. You can never be certain what exactly Google / StopBadware.org flagged you for, since they don’t communicate it to you in any way. I hope they listen to your appeal and lift the warning for your site. Good luck!

    Incidentally, it was not my WordPress blog that was flagged by Google / StopBadware. It was our actual misterpoll.com web site. So, at least in my case, it definitely wasn’t due to the K2 theme. I think that is a red herring.

  46. 46 matt May 6, 2008 at 3:58 pm

    Does anyone know how to go around this? Sometimes you can get by just by clicking refresh, but others you cant. Google used to have a thing on their own security allowing you to “proceed at your own risk” but this contains no such option, which should be mandatory on a non-user controlled security force.

    I have also noticed the repeated flagging of torrent sites. I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the RIAA’s work.

  47. 47 Ted May 10, 2008 at 6:14 am

    I gotta love the circular logic here.

    According to SBW the warning came from Google.
    According to Google, it came from SBW.

    After going through every damn comment on a three year old blog, plus the first year of posts, I found two suspect iframes (probably from WP 1.5 era) and a whole mess of legitimate iframes from Amazon.co.jp

    I finally submitted everything and Google sez “Check back later to see if you are pure enough to be on the Intarweb”

    Classic version of Dad: “Go ask your mother” Mom “Ask your father” type evasion operating here.

    I’ve now spent my entire Saturday evening trying to get this crap sorted out so that the tech newbies who read our blog don’t get scared out of their pants when they go online.

    I’ve got another blog on pre- 2.3.3 version also with K2 that has no trouble from SBW or Google. Make slittle sense, but for the poster above who thought it was K”, I don’t think so.

    This whole thing stinks of scare-tactics scam. How many people will just give up and go to Blogger where Google gets all the ads without paying anybody? Oh, and WP not having anything on their front page about SBW is just appalling. 2.3.3 was a big goof it seems like. Come to the walled garden of wordpress.com or blogger and stopbadware will be like a bad dream. I think that is what is going on here.

    How about a little more transparency from SBW?

  48. 48 misterpoll May 14, 2008 at 8:19 am

    Ted: Hah, I love the Mom / Dad analogy. Too true.

    Wow, it’s sad to see that over a year later, nothing much has changed with this Google / SBW situation. After my situation was resolved, I did get a couple of emails from Google, asking me what suggestions I had for improving things. My primary comment was that the site owners need to be contacted immediately, preferably *before* any kind of a block is activated. I guess they either didn’t agree or couldn’t figure out a workable solution for that. Given the brain power in residence at Google, I find the latter hard to believe.

  49. 49 Gecko May 16, 2008 at 12:39 am

    I have disabled ‘Tell me if the site is a suspected Attack site’ in my Security options in FireFox just because of Badware.org!
    A reputable site run by one of the major blue chip companies that I regularly visit is suddenly on their list.
    Their latest Message displayed on the site does not even give me the option to ignore their message and visit the site if I choose to. It simply lists 2 options : ‘Get me Out of here’ and ‘Why was this site blocked’. (more or less…)
    Badware.org can go to hell! I did not ask for their help, nor do I need it.
    Ridiculous!!!!!

  50. 50 Matthew Brand January 31, 2009 at 7:06 am

    Use http://www.ixquick.com/ unlike the fascist google/CIA they collect no data about you at all and do not engage in censorship.

  51. 51 Phil February 18, 2009 at 9:52 am

    As I say on the next article (Another google victim comes foreward) http://www.wcradion.com is definetly not a badaware site it just a small radio station that comments on world of warcraft and gaming in general

  52. 52 Michael May 2, 2010 at 7:39 am

    Hi All

    I think think is some kind of Virus

    I can load many of my pages from links from other sites and they are O.K.. Then on some pages I load the same urls I get this warning.

    Warning – visiting this web site may harm your computer!

    My hosting company said no viruses on my pages.

    The refer me to put some google code on my pages but when I try it does not work.

    THIS IS GIVING GOOGLE A BAD NAME

    We should all pester Google head office.

    Do you see message on this page http://www.aselectchoice.com.au/Gm/tattslotto.html ?

    Thanks all.

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  1. 1 A Bit of Credit « The Life and Times of Mister Poll Trackback on January 8, 2007 at 9:52 pm

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